What’s in the box!?

By » Sun, March 25 2012
1913554601 67913a3317 450x299 Whats in the box!?

Bedroom engineering taken literally. (img by Kaspar Metz)

Motherboard addresses “the war on DIY electronics“:

“I think that is changing the culture… because the technology is more magical and people are more and more distanced from it,” [iFixit co-founder Kyle] Wiens said. “What we’re trying to do is connect people with their things again.” The way to do that, he said, is simply get more people tinkering, hacking, and understanding how electronics work in general. One the best points of entry is through self-repair: If we start seeing more stay-at-home moms out there replacing batteries in their kids’ iPods, he suggested, attempts by the government or anyone else to cast hobbyists and amateur engineers in [a dangerous] light will be universally dismissed as ludicrous.

The last time I owned an Apple product, I ended up taking it apart twice within weeks of the extended warranty expiring – once to replace a hard drive (success!), once to see if I could fix the blown screen backlight CFL (FAIL). Since then, I’ve helped friends try to solder internal iPhone antennas, build desktop computers from components, and found new life for my old (non-Apple) laptop by installing Linux instead of resource-hungry Windows 7 (it’s still running smoothly 5+ years in, which is 2 years longer than the Powerbook lasted).

Getting comfortable monkeying around in your electronics hardware is essential. It’ll save you money, for one, and it will teach you all kinds of stuff… from where to procure bizarre goddamn screwdriver attachments to how to keep all of the stuff you dismantle organized (hint: ubiquitous digital cameras make this a lot easier). It will also get you in touch with local groups of people who do stuff like this.

Check your town/city for a Hackerspace or a group of people who modify equipment that you’re interested in (people modify everything from electronics to other stuff to pewter figurines). It’s a lot easier to tackle the terrifying innards of stuff you’ve been taught never to fuck with on pain of warranty-voiding if you’ve got someone to back you up or tell you that “there’s a trick” to opening something. And makers/hackers tend to be fascinating people. Even if your project fails, I think you’ll come out ahead.

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